Toronto’s fourth Scotiabank Nuit Blanche is the sort of large-scale democratic arts event that could easily prove unmanageable, showcasing stuff that’s big and small, local and international, with megastars and undervalued talent rubbing shoulders, all through this long Saturday night.
Indeed, the only way to keep a burgeoning city tradition domesticated is to continue improving it.
“We’ve made several significant changes to the event this year,” says Giannina Warren, publicist for this year’s Nuit Blanche. “For one thing, the projects are closer together. Last year they were more spread out, so now it’s easier for pedestrians to see everything that interests them.”
The event will be divided into three zones, all meeting at Queen and Spadina. Zone A is bracketed by Dupont and Queen, Spadina and Jarvis. Zone B runs from Queen to Lakeshore, from Spadina to the Don Valley Parkway. Zone C goes from Spadina to Lansdowne, from Lakeshore to Dundas.
Pedestrians are getting more consideration this year. “There will be road closures,” says Warren, “Bay will be closed after 6 p.m., between Gerrard and Front. Liberty Street will be closed after 5 p.m., through the Village between Dufferin and Pirandello. And McCaul too, will be closed after 4 p.m., between Dundas and Grange.”
The TTC will be running all night, with extended lines of operation to Keele and Woodbine. Blue light shuttle busses will be added. A special $9 Scotiabank bus pass will be available that gets up to four people to all the events up until 9 a.m.
“Most important is that people plan their evening,” says Warren. “There are over 130 different things to see this year. It will be pretty much impossible to see everything. The website (scotiabanknuitblanche.ca/home.shtml) includes online interactive tools, including a planning tool and a night navigator. It’s GPS enabled, and there will be phone apps to help people get around, with photo recognition.”
The site also allows you to tweet and vote on artworks and argue about which installations and artworks are the best. More food and refreshments will be available, so 2009’s Nuit Blanche seems to be fully tweaked.
TOP FIVE MUST-SEE EVENTS
• Rabbit Balloons at the Eaton’s Centre by Jeff Koons: Find out if you think he should be the highest paid artist working today (he is). Decide for yourself if he’s funny or infuriating or both.
• Battle Royale by Shaun Leonardo: A cage match by wrestlers at Toronto Bus Terminal. Old School wrestling is a proud tradition that’s fake yet very dangerous, a true art unto itself.
• Beautiful Light: 4 LETTER WORD MACHINE by D. A. Therrien at City Hall: It’s like an electric fireworks display with important messages, each letter seven meters square, 65 meters up between the two city hall towers.
• FIRE AND SAUSAGE: Small Mercies by Tom Dean: Some free food and civic conviviality at the corner of Liberty and Hanna. The title alone is magic. The city’s spirit is really the highlight of the event though, helpful and generous, as we’ve seen in blackouts over the years.
• Surrounded by Tears by Oswaldo Macia: Bell-laden sound installation at the Liberty Market Building’s Atrium Corridor. It includes the sound of a hundred individual cries. This installation was created with help from composer Michael Nyman and designer Jasper Morrison.